THE NEXT CHIEF OF STAFF?

Rahm Emanuel mulls chief of staff role in Barack Obama’s administration

By Naftali Bendavid | Washington Bureau
November 6, 2008
Rahm Emanuel
With stints in the Clinton administration and the House, Rahm
Emanuel is seen by many insiders as uniquely qualified to serve as Barack
Obama’s chief of staff. Read about Emanuel accepting the job (Tribune photo by Phil Velasquez /
November 6, 2008)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Rahm Emanuel
might not appear at first glance to be the obvious choice to serve as
White House chief of staff for a
president-elect who has spoken eloquently of setting aside partisan differences
and bringing the country together.

Emanuel, after all, is best known as
something of a Democratic political assassin. From his days as a top aide
to President Bill Clinton to his recent role leading the Democrats to a House majority, Emanuel has relentlessly attacked his foes and gone ruthlessly after anyone who stood in his way.

Yet the Illinois congressman is mulling whether to accept
President-elect Barack Obama‘s request that he serve as his chief
of staff. That means Emanuel would manage Obama’s schedule, oversee the daily
operations of the White House and serve as a top adviser to the
president.

Perhaps the possibility is not as jarring as it might seem.
For one thing, precisely because Obama seems likely to adopt a unifying posture
as president, he may need someone practiced in the art of political
hardball.